Widely held assumptions about the innocuousness of the music therapy process in hospice have been challenged on this blog in the past. In this post, guest author Cathleen Flynn, MA, MT-BC offers reflections on navigating very common and very precarious dynamics with hospice patients. (See Cathleen’s bio here.) She digs into the roots of what feels dangerous in music therapy, and overturns notions about the harmlessness of music, therapists, and elderly patients. We hope she inspires you to do some digging, too.
It is with great pleasure that we share this guest post from Jessica Josefczyk, a board-certified music therapist practicing with older adults in Dayton, OH (be sure to check out her full bio under Contributors). Here, Jess offers an important perspective about the growing influence of Music & Memory, its potential impact on the practice and reach of music therapy with older adults, and how music therapists may be able to position themselves in relation to the growing trend of music listening services.
I can’t shake the memory of the feeling of being utterly out of place.
I felt it in my stomach, in my tongue-tied mouth, and my anxious mind as I vigilantly scanned the room looking for some haven where I could wait inconspicuously for the service to begin. Trying to appear casual, and just to blend in, I gazed at the photos—all of them, one by one, for as long as possible without giving anyone else reason to take notice of me. Not that it was difficult to give attention to the display, or that I was only pretending to be interested. Each photo told of the healthier parts of a life of which I had only known the premature end. I found it hard to look away. It can be a comforting thing to continue getting to know a person after they have died.
In November, my hospital sent me to attend the National Seminar given by CAPC, the Center to Advance Palliative Care. My experience at the conference ended up being personally impactful. I have always felt, on an intuitive level, the profound differences between working for a hospice agency and a palliative medicine team in a hospital, since I changed treatment settings in 2008. However, attending the conference stimulated a lot of thoughts for me about the uniqueness of palliative medicine in a medical hospital and a music therapist’s role there. My impression of the music therapy end-of-life care scene is that we tend to focus on the hospice part of the greater palliative care umbrella, but there is so much more for us to know about, and so much more for us to offer. Continue reading “Introducing: Palliative Care”
One of the unintended benefits of having a child has been learning to cook and, for the first time, finding meaning in it. Cooking for my daughter has helped me come to respect its art and craft. Whereas I once valued the tasks of cooking only by the isolated products those tasks produced (e.g. a chopped carrot, simmering sauce, etc.), I came to understand these purposeful actions as choreographed movements in a much larger dance that function as an act of service representing love and nurturance.
This year’s Social Media Advocacy month is focused on VISION: We Value this endeavor, we Imagine Success in our advocacy efforts, we Invest in advocacy Opportunities Now and whenever possible. For participation in this effort, we decided to engage with each other in a discussion about our vision for music therapy and end-of-life care. Please share with us any responses you might have, and what your vision for the field may be. As always, thank you for being a part of this community
In honor of Social Media Advocacy Month (I never even knew that was a “thing” until now!), there’s a guest post from Judy Simpson, AMTA’s Director of Public Relations, circling the various music therapy interwebs. It is a well-written and thoroughly welcomed message. One part in particular stood out to me:
“For far too long we have tried to fit music therapy into a pre-existing description of professions that address similar treatment needs. What we need to do is provide a clear, distinct, and very specific narrative of music therapy so that all stakeholders and decision-makers ‘get it.'”
Continue reading “We are…not on the same page…”